Since its founding 43 years ago, High Hopes has forged many beneficial relationships with local, regional and national corporations, that have been integral to our growth and stability. Most companies’ method of support has been in the form of individual event sponsorship, from Symphony in the Meadows in 1985, to the Holiday Market in 2017. Some companies have gone on to deepen their support; employees and owners have become program volunteers, board members, event planners, or have provided facility maintenance support. Take just one example: Jeff Ridgway, a partner in the home construction firm Cauleld & Ridgway. Over the years, High Hopes has benefited from Jeff’s expertise as he headed up the Buildings and Grounds Committee, oversaw the expansion of our facility, introduced vendors that could improve heating and cooling efficiency, and so much more! Jeff’s experience has helped prepare our facility to host events that attract thousands of visitors in the space of a few hours.
Amy and Scott Huot have volunteered together at High Hopes since 2014 and developed a passionate commitment to the fulfillment of the High Hopes’ mission. Wanting to share that passion with her co-workers at Kapco Global, an aircraft parts distributor located in Essex, CT, Amy and her colleagues decided that High Hopes would be the focus of their spring quarter’s fundraising efforts. Staff joined one of two teams, donated money and also participated in “challenges”. The team that won the most challenges had their donations matched by the company, and in June the winning team visited High Hopes to present their check. They enjoyed a tour of High Hopes and had a chance to see first-hand the healing work which results from the horse-human bond. They also met the High Hopes’ herd, and at the end of the day decided to adopt Summer, a Clydesdale mare who came to High Hopes in 2017. The financial support given through this “adoption” provides for Summer’s care and ensures her continued success in our program. Fundraising and spending a work day at High Hopes has engaged Kapco Global more completely in sharing and supporting our mission.
Another new corporate partnership is with MassMutual, a national life insurance company with over 5 million customers that came about at the recommendation of long time High Hopes volunteer, and MassMutual employee, Dawn Loughead.
Dawn is a regular program volunteer whose hours have been “matched” with a contribution by MassMutual. As a result of her volunteer experience with High Hopes, Dawn was asked to serve on a committee of employees that assesses and recommends how MassMutual should distribute its philanthropic gifts. This opportunity promises to provide Dawn with exciting new personal and professional opportunities – all resulting from her volunteer experience at High Hopes!
Over the past few years we have seen many similar stories. Some of our most mutually-beneficial, long- term corporate partnerships, such as Dominion Energy, Liberty Bank and Eversource Energy, have grown out of relationships with individuals who have been inspired by High Hopes. They in turn have encouraged others in their organizations to become engaged in our programs and enjoy first-hand the impact their gifts have on our participants.
MassMutual is one of an increasing number of companies that seek to build community engagement by rewarding employee volunteerism with financial support for the hours they commit to a non-profit.